A lymphatic drainage massage alleviates issues that result from the lymphatic system. When fluid accumulates in parts of the body and causes swelling, a lymphatic drainage massage helps break the assemblage. It is a gentle, light massage procedure that helps lymph fluid get reabsorbed into tissue. It also benefits other conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic venous insufficiency and lipoedema.

What is a lymphatic drainage massage?

A lymphatic drainage massage is a treatment to help people reduce swelling resulting from lymphoedema. Lymphoedema is a condition resulting from blockages within the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of lymphatic cells, nodes, organs and tissues that exist throughout the body. Its primary role is to manage fluid levels within different types of tissue in the body. It is part of both the circulatory and immune systems and important for helping the body to function effectively. The lymphatic system sometimes fails to collect and draw away the fluid in tissue from parts of the body. This results in a build-up of fluid in body parts, leading to lymphoedema. Lymphoedema can be the result of infection, injury, cancer treatment, surgery or genetic disorders. Its symptoms include weakness, tissue swelling, skin discolouration, pain, hardening skin and recurring infections. Lymphatic massage treats lymphoedema by stimulating parts of the lymphatic system. This improves the flow of lymph fluids and helps the body to reabsorb them.


What does a lymphatic drainage massage look like?

A lymphatic drainage massage looks like a light touch massage that focuses on specific body parts. The light touch is necessary due to the lymphatic system’s proximity to the skin’s surface. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is utilised before and after the massage in order to stimulate the lymphatic system and allow for more fluid to flow. Once the treatment begins, the patient will typically be required to lie down. Lymphatic massages are divided into the clearing step and the reabsorption step. The clearing step involves releasing lymphatic fluid in your tissues. It is done by stimulating the lymph nodes and regions of the body that are unaffected first. This is to ensure the fluid has somewhere it can easily flow to. The reabsorption step involves moving lymphatic fluid to lymph nodes for reabsorption. For this step, the massage begins from the centre of the affected body part and progresses to the extremities. This is necessary to make sure pockets of fluid are not left over. The massage utilises slow and rhythmical movements with gentle pressure to guide the fluid in the right direction. The four main stroke techniques used are stationary circles, the scoop technique, the pump technique and the rotary technique.

What body parts can be treated with a lymphatic drainage massage?

Lymphatic drainage massage can provide benefits to various parts of the body. It effectively alleviates lymphoedema in different areas, such as the arms, legs, chest, neck and face. It is commonly used to reduce swelling in the feet or ankles, which is a concern for many pregnant women. Lymphatic drainage massage can be performed on the face to reduce the appearance of puffy eyes. It can be conducted on the stomach area to make someone’s appearance look leaner and make their torso feel less bloated. It can similarly be used on areas like the chest, arms or neck to alleviate discomfort or pain.


What will you notice before and after a lymphatic drainage massage?

You will notice reduced swelling and bloating after a lymphatic drainage massage. Many people think this is fat loss, but that’s inaccurate. The massage reduces water retention but does not work towards burning fat or cellulite. A lymphatic drainage massage also helps to relieve pain or discomfort as a result of swelling.


What should you do after a lymphatic drainage massage?

There are several steps you should take to recover well after a lymphatic drainage massage. Resting is important for helping the body to recharge and recover. Staying hydrated is also important since patients may experience thirst while fluids in their body readjust. A few days after the procedure, it is recommended to do gentle stretching and move the muscles. This is to adjust to your new body’s new alignment after reducing fluid in affected areas. Avoid any intense or strenuous physical exertion. Focus on eating nutritious foods and avoid anything greasy in the days following your treatment. Greasy and unhealthy foods impede your body’s ability to flush out waste and toxins. Wearing a compression sock or sleeve will help to prevent swelling from reappearing.


Woman lying face down with her eyes closed and receiving a back massage

What are the different types of lymphatic drainage massage?

There are four primary types of lymphatic drainage massages used by professionals. The Vodder technique is a foundational massage technique characterised by sweeping motions around the treatment area. The Foldi technique resembles the Vodder technique but involves alternating between circular hand motions and relaxed periods. The Casley-Smith method uses circular hand motions but utilises the sides and palms of the hands for massage. The Leduc method focuses on using hand motions to collect lymph fluid in a single point before redirecting it for reabsorption into the lymphatic system.


What health conditions can benefit from lymphatic drainage massage?

A variety of health conditions experience benefits from lymphatic drainage massage. The main conditions that benefit from lymphatic drainage massage are rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic venous insufficiency and lipoedema. Rheumatoid arthritis is ongoing arthritis that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. The condition affects lymph flow in later stages, leading to an increase in joint pain. Lymphatic drainage massage can reduce these symptoms. Fibromyalgia is a condition characterised by chronic joint and muscle pain due to inflamed skin nerves and tissue swelling. The treatment can alleviate some of the pain and stiffness. Chronic venous insufficiency is when leg veins don’t work effectively, and blood from the legs has trouble returning to the heart. Lymphatic drainage massage helps to increase blood flow, including between the legs and the heart. Lipoedema is a condition where lymphatic pathways are blocked by excess fat accumulation in the lower body. Lymphatic drainage massage helps to break up the thickened tissue. The massage also benefits people by easing the symptoms they experience after surgery – particularly helpful for alleviating pain and swelling in mastectomy patients.

How often should you get a lymphatic drainage massage?

How often you should get a lymphatic drainage massage depends on your specific situation. Depending on the person and the intensity of their lymphoedema, they may be suited to once a week or once every few months. If it is a recurring issue, you may need to get treatments over a longer period of time. Contact one of our friendly Mosman Spa staff for advice on massage regularity.

Can you get a lymphatic drainage massage during pregnancy?

Lymphatic drainage massage can be suitable during pregnancy and provide benefits. Suitability depends on the body parts being treated. The main concern is avoiding the abdominal area. The massage is typically helpful during pregnancy to alleviate swollen feet or fluid retention. It may also help with fatigue and increase energy levels. Lymphatic drainage massage may not be suitable if there are other health complications to consider during the pregnancy.

Where can you get a lymphatic drainage massage in Perth?

Mosman Spa is one of Perth’s premier providers of lymphatic drainage massages, one of a collection of massage treatments. Our staff are expertly trained and taper individually the massage to each client. You can secure a treatment through our bookings page.